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North Hills Monthly

UPMC Senior Communities enhances services via innovative partnership with the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

Dec 30, 2015 09:32AM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

New transitional rehabilitation units at UPMC skilled nursing facilities help patients recover and return home more quickly from surgery, accidents and illness.

An exciting new approach to rehabilitation now is available at four UPMC Senior Communities skilled nursing facilities, where intensive rehabilitation and physical therapy are helping patients recover and return home more quickly from surgery, accidents, and illness.

Transitional rehabilitation units (TRUs), which are now part of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, have been created at Canterbury Place, Cranberry Place, Heritage Place, and Seneca Place, offering patients expert, short-term rehab and therapy in a welcoming, home-like setting. Extensive renovations have been made at all four facilities to create the new, state-of-the-art units. Long-term residents also are benefiting from additional renovations throughout each facility.

“There once was a time when patients who needed rehabilitation therapy had extended stays in the hospital for care, but that’s no longer the case,” explains Shelly Ciaramella, RN, senior manager, client relations and programs for UPMC Senior Communities. “The transitional rehabilitation units are transforming care by getting patients back to their homes and lifestyles as quickly as possible — typically within two to four weeks.”

“As health care is evolving, it’s very important for patients to get the most appropriate level of care after they are discharged from the hospital,” says Cara Camiolo Reddy, MD, MMM, medical director for the UPMC Rehabilitation Network. “Through the transitional rehabilitation units, the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is helping to elevate the already excellent care provided at these skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities by creating new partnerships with all the health care professionals involved in patients’ care — from the point of admission to their return home. That partnership ensures that patients have continuity of care at every stage of their rehabilitation.”

A discharge plan is created for TRU patients the day of their arrival. “It’s a very patient-centered approach to care. Our goal is to marshal all the resources that our patients need, from physical, occupational, and speech therapy, to pain management,” says Ms. Ciaramella. “Our home health services also help patients and their families prepare for the return home.”

UPMC Rehabilitation Institute doctors, who are specialists in rehabilitation medicine, provide ongoing evaluation of TRU patients. “We apply the knowledge and skills we’ve developed in acute rehabilitation care to the skilled nursing and rehabilitation setting, making sure that these patients receive the right therapy and medical support as they progress through every stage of rehabilitation,” says Dr. Camiolo Reddy. “Our philosophy is to focus on quality of life and to maximize function as much as possible.”

A medical director and certified nurse practitioner lead the clinical team at each TRU facility, supported by nurses and therapists. In addition, therapists from UPMC Centers for Rehab Services provide direct physical, occupational, and speech therapy at each TRU facility. All TRU staff members receive special rehabilitation training and the opportunity to train with colleagues at other UPMC Rehabilitation Institute locations.

“Our TRU patients have access to the latest treatments and therapies,” says Ms. Ciaramella. “We’ve modeled all services after the high standards of UPMC’s continuum of care.”

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, part of the largest rehabilitation network in western Pennsylvania — and one of the largest in the United States — is a nationally recognized center of excellence for physical rehabilitation. A leader in inpatient care, the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers accredited, specialized care for stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries and other conditions with access to some of the most influential experts in the field of physical and rehabilitative medicine.

The Added Technology of Telemedicine
The newest member of the clinical team at UPMC Senior Communities’ skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities is “Telly,” a customized telemedicine cart that allows for two-way, real-time, interactive communication between a patient and an off-site qualified practitioner, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner.

“With telemedicine, TRU and other skilled nursing and rehabilitation patients have timely access to a qualified practitioner during evenings and weekends, when clinicians usually aren’t available on-site,” says Steven Handler, MD, PhD, CMC, chief medical informatics officer, UPMC Community Provider Services, who has helped pioneer the use of telemedicine in long-term care to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

“With Telly, essential information — such as history, physical exam, vital signs, images, and other test results — can be taken and immediately shared with a qualified practitioner,” says Dr. Handler. “For example, the doctor can see and talk with the nursing team, patient, and family to make a diagnosis, determine whether the patient should go to a hospital, and identify any other needed actions.”

Telemedicine services are now available at UPMC Senior Communities skilled nursing and rehabilitation locations at Canterbury Place, Cranberry Place, Heritage Place, and Seneca Place, and are soon to launch at Sugar Creek Place and Sherwood Oaks, just another enhancement to the patient and family experience.

For more information about UPMC Senior Communities skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, please call 412-688-3900.

UPMC Rehabilitation Institute’s Transitional Rehabilitation Units (TRU)
Total Available Beds: 152
Average Length of Stay: 18 days
Cranberry Place: 24 private rooms
Canterbury Place: 35 private rooms
Heritage Place: 3 private and 10-semi-private rooms
Seneca Place: 16 private and 17-semi-private rooms

Intensive, short-term rehabilitation for patients recovering from heart surgery, stroke, hip or knee replacement, injuries incurred in falls and accidents, and more.